Story brings back memories

The Leader-Telegram recently ran a feature article on a Buddy Holly tribute band that would play in Eau Claire.

Fournier’s drew many name bands to our city back in those days. I heard a similar history of the Capitol Theatre when I lived in Yakima, Wash. Yakima is similar to Eau Claire in size and culture. I even knew a few transplants from Eau Claire when I lived there in the late 1970s.

A friend was a volunteer with the group that restored the Capitol to the condition it was in as a road house in the vaudeville era (our State Theatre was similar). They commissioned the original European artist who decorated the fresco (he was 83 at the time). He also knew how to apply gold leaf and trained the volunteers in that art.

Back in the vaudeville days name acts would go to Seattle and Spokane, but travel expenses outpaced their meager earnings and they frequently skipped town without paying hotel bills. This became a problem when they returned. Yakima heard and offered the actors free room and board with a minister if they played the Capitol.

The Capitol developed a great reputation with vaudeville entertainers. When the group was ready to have its grand re-opening they contacted Bob Hope. He immediately remembered the Capitol and returned one more time to be their MC.

Bob Jorgenson

Eau Claire

Heavy snowfall a welcome sight

I just put my 15-month-old son to nap. My 1-month-old is in my arms regurgitating milk from his last feeding. And while my mind is telling me to take a nap while I can, I’m looking at the sun, secretly wishing for more snow. Yes, you read that right — snow. More of it.

There’s more on the way, I hear, but right now all I have is more spitup from my younger one. I smell of thrown-up formula. I may smell of other stuff too. Smells that have now become a part of me. Smells I can’t tell anymore. Like my children, who’ve always been a part of me. Not metaphorically, but literally. We were the same body before they were born. And now it’s as if they are still my appendages. Body parts that are not my body parts, but are my most important, inseparable body parts. And then there are the smells.

For once I’d like to smell of nothing. For once, I’d like to smell something smell-less. Like snow. Clean. Pristine. Stark white. Impeccable. Maybe I’ve been craving a small break from motherhood. I found that break in snow — in letting it accumulate on my driveway and patio, and then in shoveling it.

The KonMari method has been working out in the opposite way for me. She tells us to throw out all that doesn’t give us joy. I found joy in throwing out something that has always given me joy.

While the excessive snow is an “event” here in Wisconsin, it was the norm where I grew up in the Himalayas. Our rose bushes, heavy and stooping with all the snow, used to serve as winter slides when we were kids.

Nidhi Kaith

Eau Claire

School referenda persist

The 2018 November election ended up with $1.4 billion in passed school district referenda.

Hoping that this coming 2019 election year would see a dip in school district referenda, I contacted the Department of Public Instruction. I counted 57 school district referenda for the April 2 election. Depending on your zip code, retired seniors and others living on fixed incomes will get hammered again.

There isn’t any fairness and equity in this state anymore. Not long ago I kept hearing the word innovation. Evidently innovation was just a passing whim. Have you heard any innovative ideas coming out of our elected officials in Madison?

I know for a fact that my demographic is doing nothing but increasing, yet the answer in Madison is to raise property taxes. It may come as a surprise that many retired seniors and others living on fixed incomes are not “living the dream” as they say.

What I do know is that I’m seeing the decay of individual moral and ethical compasses in Madison. As far as innovation in Madison, our legislators are bankrupt. When’s the last time you heard our elected officials say, “because it’s the right thing to do”?

If you dig deeper into our demographic, you’ll find retired Korean War vets and Vietnam vets like myself living on fixed incomes. Not many WWII vets left, sad to say. All vets have a common bond; we served our country, not a political party.

Terry Nichols


A new formula for Oscars

How does one decide which actor or film deserves an Academy Award?

One might as well ask, which is better, an apple or an orange, not to mention other kinds of fruit. Even nominating candidates is highly subjective. Time after time in acceptance speeches we hear the winners acknowledge the equal worth of their competitors, as if selecting a winner does a disservice to the similar achievement of fellow nominees.

A better, though less game-worthy, approach might be to forego a competition and instead cite and celebrate diverse and impressive achievements across the spectrum of film that year. Let any moviegoer privately judge which film or actor, collaborator or technician, made the greatest impact on him or her. Let the ceremony itself honor the array of artistry represented among the many contributors who, taken together, provide the public with penetrating and memorable experiences. Hail them all. Let them all shine. Let there be no disappointment or singular triumph.

The actors could still be on camera, the gowns could still grace the red carpet, but all would gather not to have a winner chosen but to appear in support of an industry and medium in which each has played a unique and noteworthy role.

Michael Doran